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Security Brief: NORTHCOM Week of March 27, 2022

March 27 - 30, 2022 | Issue 01

Savannah Fellows, Jan García, Zachary Itterman, Gabriel Mariotti, Maria Ruehl, Rhiannon Thomas, NORTHCOM Team

Manja Vitasovic, Editor; Jennifer Loy, Chief of Staff



Former US President Donald Trump Holding a Rally[1]



Date: March 27, 2022

Location: Las Tinajas, Zinapecuaro, Michoacan, Mexico

Parties involved: Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador; Mexican Government; local cartels; Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG); Sinaloa Cartel; Mexican law enforcement agencies; Mexican National Guard; Zinapecuaro community

The event: On Sunday, March 27, gunmen killed at least 20 people at an illegal cockfight. They fled the scene leaving a stolen van containing materials with logos of local cartels. Mexican President Lopez Obrador declared the gunmen belonged to local drug cartels, such as the CJNG and the Sinaloa Cartel.[2] These cartels have conducted attacks in the Michoacan area recently, including shootings in bars, clubs, funerals, and wakes.[3] Soldiers have been deployed to identify those responsible for the cockfight pit attack.[4]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Cartel attacks will almost certainly aim to increase local territorial control, and illicit drugs and firearms market control over rival cartels. Cartels will very likely use increased funds for criminal activities and to gain larger regional territorial control. Territorial disputes between cartels will very likely escalate, likely resulting in attacks and civilian casualties.

  • Local law enforcement will unlikely be able to identify and prosecute cartel members responsible for the cockfighting pit attack. The lack of prosecution will likely make cartels believe that Michoacan law enforcement is ineffective, likely increasing attacks in the area. If the cartel members responsible for the event go unpunished, other local cartels will very likely increase criminal activity, such as shootings and drug trafficking, to expand their power and territory.

  • Local law enforcement will very likely be ineffective in combating cartels due to poor organization and inefficient technological and military resources needed to react quickly to terrorist threats. It is very likely that the Mexican army will continue to support local law enforcement in the cartel territories. Cartels will very likely threaten and bribe local civilians and law enforcement to avoid prosecution. Citizens’ collaboration with local law enforcement and awareness of cartels movements will likely help to combat cartel activities.

  • Perceived law enforcement inefficiency will likely result in Mexican citizens seeking firearms for safety. Due to restrictive gun regulations, civilians will likely obtain firearms illegally. Cartels will likely sell illegal firearms to civilians, likely increasing confrontations between rival cartels competing for market control.


Date: March 28, 2022

Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

Parties involved: Former US President Donald Trump; US District Court Judge David Carter; US Attorney General Merrick Garland; Lawyer John Eastman; Los Angeles District Court; Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol (Select Committee); US government

The event: On Monday, March 28, District Court Judge David Carter ruled that the Select Committee possessed the right to see John Eastman’s emails sent to Trump. Judge Carter asserted Trump likely committed a felony by encouraging the Capitol Attack to overturn the 2020 election results. The US Attorney General has the mandate to press criminal charges against Trump.[5] Trump plans on running in the 2024 Presidential election.[6]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The US public will very likely be divided over the US District Court decision. Judge Carter will likely receive threats from far-right Trump supporters. There is a roughly even chance the political divide among US citizens will result in protests, very likely increasing pressure on the US government to promptly resolve Trump allegations.

  • Trump's opposition and the Select Committee will likely pressure the Attorney General to press charges against Trump. Other countries will likely question the US electoral system since there is a roughly even chance a former US president will be convicted. Trump’s criminal conviction would likely decrease foreign countries’ trust in economic and defense deals with the US.

  • Trump will likely use the US District Court’s decision and media attention to pose as a victim, very likely to gain electoral support for the 2024 Presidential election. Trump will likely justify violent protests of his supporters to advance his political stance in the next election.

________________________________________________________________________ The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)

[1]Trump Maga rally in Greenville” by A1Cafel licensed under Wikimedia Commons

[2] Gunmen kill 20 at cockfight in troubled western Mexican state, Reuters, March 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/gunmen-kill-19-people-party-mexico-more-injured-2022-03-28/

[3] Mexico cockfight shooting: Gunmen 'hid in chip van', BBC News, March 2022, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-60900854

[4] Gunmen kill at least 19 people in illegal cockfighting pit in Mexico, Independent, March 2022, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/cockfighting-pit-shooting-mexico-deaths-latest-b2045650.html

[5] Trump likely committed crime with plan to obstruct Congress, US judge rules, Reuters, March 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/us/trump-likely-committed-felony-by-obstructing-congress-us-judge-rules-2022-03-28/

[6] Trump’s 2024 Strength Is Increasing, and GOP Voters Prefer DeSantis as His Running Mate, Morning Consult, March 2022, https://morningconsult.com/2022/03/23/trump-2024-election-survey-desantis-running-mate/

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